As a strong believer in popularizing science, Smoot thinks that scientists should look beyond themselves and realize that they have the social responsibility for promoting science and engaging with the public.
In the past six months, Smoot has travelled to several continents to share his specialized knowledge and research expertise at various conferences, including the Starmus Festival held in Zurich, Switzerland, which attracted over 3,000 worldwide researchers this year, and the SciencEkaitza event in Pamplona, Spain. Smoot was also one of the 39 Nobel Laureates who took part in the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting held in Germany this July. Joining forces with John C. Mather, he gave a talk titled “From the Big Bang to Intelligent Life” and participated in a panel discussion of the topic “The Dark Side of the Universe.”
“Being able to exchange ideas and interact with the next generation of leading scientists, like those who attended the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, is always a meaningful experience,” Smoot said. “I think scientists like me have a duty to promote science education, to share and let the community know what is happening. We hope that our research at HKUST could help further enhance Hong Kong’s capabilities and visibility in the research area of fundamental physics.”
In 2017, Smoot took up the directorship of the Center for Fundamental Physics (CFP), which was established at HKUST as a platform for researchers in the field of particle theory and cosmology to collaborate and explore four specific areas of fundamental physics, namely string theory, particle physics, cosmology, and quantum optics for astrophysics and cosmology. Other core members who form the pillars of CFP include Prof. Andrew G. COHEN, Director of the IAS, Lam Woo Foundation Professor and Chair Professor of Physics; Prof. Henry TYE, IAS Professor and Chair Professor of Physics; Prof. LIU Tao, Associate Professor of Physics; and Prof. WANG Yi, Assistant Professor of Physics. Alongside the HKUST faculty, there is a team of over 20 fellows and graduate students whose research spans a wide range of frontier topics in fundamental physics.